Coq au Vin: 1969

By • March 23, 2011 • 3 Comments

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Author Notes: I adapted this recipe from Eleanor Graves' amazing book GREAT DINNERS FROM LIFE, the edition that was published in 1969. It's a really great version of it and of course the Brandy flambé is crucial! - Broke and ChicBroke and Chic

Food52 Review: As I was preparing this wonderful French classic, I kept asking myself why I don’t make it more often. With this straightforward, well-written recipe, I now will. How could I have forgotten how good the house smells while coq au vin is cooking? The recipe doesn’t say to add salt except when browning the chicken, perhaps due to the bacon. I added a small pinch before simmering the chicken in the sauce, then tested and added another small pinch before serving. Formidable! - AntoniaJamesAntoniaJames

Serves 8

  • 3 chicken breasts, halved
  • 6 chicken legs
  • pinches salt and pepper
  • 24 mushrooms
  • 24 tiny boiling onions
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 pound thick, fatty bacon
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 cups dry red wine (drinkable)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs parsley (fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  1. Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wipe off the mushrooms and remove the stems. Drop the onions into a pot of boiling water for ten seconds, then drain in cold water. Slip their skins off.
  2. Cut bacon into half-inch pieces and then cook in a large Dutch Oven or Casserole dish in the butter until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon and drain the fat. Pour half of the fat into a second large sauté pan (or skillet). You are going to use both pans to brown the chicken.
  3. Add the chicken to the bacon fat/butter mixture skin side down. Cook over medium heat until the chicken is browned (lightly or to your taste) on both sides. As pieces brown, remove them and add more. When all are browned, set aside.
  4. Making sure there is still fat in the Dutch Oven (or Casserole, whichever you are still using) add the onions and sugar and cook. Stir until the little onions are starting to brown. Then add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are starting to brown and release their juices.
  5. Put the chicken back into the pot and pour most of the brandy over it, EXCEPT one tablespoonfull. Put the tablespoonfull in a ladle. Light the brandy in the ladle and pour it, flaming, into the casserole to light the rest. When you do this, stand back -- the whole casserole will light up instantly. When the flame dies add the wine, chicken broth and herbs.
  6. Cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken, bacon, onions, and mushrooms. Bring the stock that's left in the pan to a boil, skimming off fat. Boil rapidly for five minutes until liquid reduces to about two cups. Mix one tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir this into the sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens. Strain and pour over chicken.
  7. Make Ahead: I like to strain the sauce and put it into a separate container, let the chicken cool and store both in a refrigerator. I think it actually tastes better after 24 hours letting the flavors mingle. When it's time to re-heat, cover the chicken in foil and put it in a 325 oven for about 30 minutes. Re-Heat the sauce, on low, separately. Then pour on the chicken when you are ready to serve.
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Tags: can be made ahead, dinner party

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9 months ago Michelle Trim

This was okay. We used a French wine (syrah) that we didn't like (too minerally). I think that was a mistake. For this to turn out well, I think you have to use wine that tastes good to you - that you would drink.

Isabella_beeton

over 2 years ago MrsBeeton

This is SO delicious, and quite a bit less involved than some of the other coq au vin recipes I've looked at. I put some fingerling potatoes in my casserole dish as well--yum.

Lorigoldsby

over 3 years ago lorigoldsby

Congrats on becoming the 10,000th recipe submitted to food52.com! sweet totebag!